The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Published in 1759, this work sees Smith follow the lead of his tutor and mentor Francis Hutcheson. He divides his ethical examinations into four broad categories: ethics and virtue; private rights and natural liberties; rights of the family; and state and individual rights.
The book is comprised of seven principle parts:
In the first, Smith discusses the propriety of mankind, and its relation between the adversity and prosperity of the individuals who make up a society. The various emotions through which the sympathy of others is elicited, and how the passions of individuals interact, conflict or compliment their propriety is considered.
Part Two focuses upon the merits and demerits appearing in civil society, the means through which people are gratified and rewarded, and punished or reprimanded. Smith discusses justice, comparing the ideas of remorse and considering justice alongside virtue.
Part Three considers how people enjoy to be praised, but are repelled by blame. How the everyday population behaves in connection with established moral principles, as through religion and the concept of the deity, as well as the sense of duty affecting personal interaction with society.
Part Four discusses how the concept of utility affects artistic beauty, and whether the merit and skill in creating works of art is itself a component of utility, due to its cultural impact.
Part Five discusses the ideas of beauty and deformity, and how society's fashions and customs impact upon and affect instances of each.
Part Six examines the character of man; how he attains happiness, and suffers adversity and hardship. Smith is particularly interested in prudence; an emotional state of caution which he held as central to the gradual development of an individual and the wider society.
The final part retrospectively asks questions about the theory of moral sentiments. We revisit each part in turn, discussing how the principles of virtue and approbation affect the various emotions and tenets of the human being.
Although lesser known compared to Adam Smith's later works, The Theory of Moral Sentiments is an influential work of philosophy in its own right, with the greatest effect being upon its author.
"A worthy and distinctive addition to Adam Smith scholarship and an excellent presentation of the authentic Adam Smith to a wide audience for the 21st century. It is beauty presented, and the editorial work by Ryan Hanley is of the very highest standard. The introduction by Amartya Sen, as always, is excellent and should appeal for its clarity to a wide audience."-Gavin Kennedy, Emeritus Professor, Heriot-Watt University"One of the truly outstanding books in the intellectual history of the world...A global manifesto of profound significance to the interdependent world in which we live. It is indeed a book of amazing reach and contemporary relevance."-Amartya Sen, from the Introduction"One of the truly outstanding books in the intellectual history of the world...A global manifesto of profound significance to the interdependent world in which we live. It is indeed a book of amazing reach and contemporary relevance."-Amartya Sen, from the Introduction --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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